Principal preparation in Kenya, South Africa, and Canada
Webber, Charles F.
Okoko, Janet Mola
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Purpose – The International Study of Principal Preparation (ISPP) informs principal preparation in relation to change in schools. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach – The three-stage ISPP study utilized a mixed-methodological approach. Data were gathered in Kenya, South Africa, and Alberta, Canada utilizing a survey instrument that contained items that focussed on: problematic leadership responsibilities, prior leadership development experiences, and perceived adequacy of leadership preparation experiences. Findings – Leadership preparation in Kenya and South Africa was relatively unstructured, compared to structured university-based leadership preparation in Alberta. The assumption in Kenya and South Africa was that classroom teaching was adequate preparation, while Alberta respondents perceived teaching and leadership as discrete knowledge sets. Content of preparation experiences in Kenya and South Africa was mainly about teaching and learning, while in Alberta it was more about instructional leadership. Kenyan principals felt prepared for the principalship. Alberta principals stated that they were ill prepared to deal with day-to-day responsibilities. Senior South African principals felt they were not prepared for school improvement while younger principals felt they were adequately prepared. Practical implications – Findings suggest that providers utilize cross-cultural partnerships that incorporate technology-mediated dialogue and action research. Cross-cultural learning should be considered co-learning. Preparation should include partnerships between western institutions and informal groups of principals in settings such as Kenya and South Africa. The study informs policymakers, researchers, and school leaders. Originality/value – The cross-cultural comparisons in this paper inform understandings of the principalship in relation to organizational change in schools.
- Faculty of Education